Chapter 9. Favoring BreezesFlexner's proposals were hardly as radical as those being promoted by Dewey and the other Wundtians working in education, but Flexner's booklet, presented to the public as a General Education Board paper with the full weight of the Rockefeller millions behind it, produced an instantaneous and dramatic reaction across the nation. At a time when German U-boats were stalking English shipping in the North Atlantic preparatory to American participation in World War I, and the newspapers were full of European news, The New York Times devoted a major editorial to Flexner's proposal, terming it "radical and dangerous," and "subversive of a very great part of what we hold to be sound and worthy in our present system of training":
Unblushing materialism finds its crowning triumph in the theory of the modern school. In the whole plan there is not a spiritual thought, not an idea that rises above the need of finding money for the pocket and food for the belly ... It is a matter of instant inquiry, for very sober consideration, whether the General Education Board, indeed, may not with the immense funds at its disposal be able to shape to its will practically all the institutions in which the youth of the country are trained.The dam broke into a national outcry against the General Education Board and its attempts to control and alter American education. From the New York Journal of Commerce:
Instances can be given in abundance where the mere prospect of an immense gift has changed the whole current of a college administrator's thought and made him trim his sails on an entirely new tack to catch the favoring breezes of prosperity.From the Manufacturers' Record, Baltimore, Maryland:
Control, through possession of the millions massed in the Educational Trust, of two or three or four times as many millions of dollars in education makes possible control of the machinery and the methods of education. It makes it possible for the central controlling body to determine the whole character of American education, the textbooks to be used, the aims to be emphasized. Operating through State, denominational, and individual systems of schools and colleges, it gives the financial controller power to impose upon its beneficiaries its own views, good or bad, and thereby to dominate public opinion in social, economic and political matters.From the New Orleans Times-Democrat:
The case here is plainly stated. The fund which the General Education Board administers is largely provided by men whose interest in shaping public opinion upon certain matters of vital concern to society and to the State is very great. Whether their philanthropy serves as a cloak to attain the ends desired, or whether the plan is unselfishly conceived and the sinister influence unconsciously exerted, the effect is likely to be the same in the end.The debate continued onto the floor of the United States Senate, with Senator Chamberlain of Oregon leading the attack on the General Education Board and publicizing the views of numerous well-known American educators, among them Bishop Warren A. Candler, the Chancellor of Emory University in Atlanta, Georgia:
With this financial power in its control, the general board is in position to do what no body in this country can at present even attempt. It can determine largely what institutions shall grow, and in some measure what shall stand still or decay. It can look over the territory of the Nation, note the places where there is a famine of learning, and start new educational plants of any species it chooses, or revive old ones. It can do in many ways what the Government does for education in France and Germany. Its power will be enormous; it seems as if it might be able to determine the character of American education. The funds it holds represent only a fraction of the amounts which it will control; by giving a sum to an institution on condition that the institution raise an equal or greater amount, it will be able to direct much larger amounts than it possesses.The specific point in question had been the "modern school" proposed by Flexner, but the debate had deepened into what was to be the last major American stand against Progressive Education. After 1917 the takeover was rapid and thorough.
Even before the noise began to die down, Flexner and Teachers College
went ahead with their plans for a laboratory school. Flexner had wanted
to call it "The Modern School" (from the title of his booklet), but the
phrase was so disliked that he decided to name it the Lincoln School. The
General Education Board, following Flexner's urgings, agreed to supply
funds for the establishment and operation of the Lincoln School, and to
pay the salary of a director.
After the Lincoln Scbool bad moved to its new building, Teachers College and the General Education Board had discussions about what was called 'permanent financing.'After formal requests for endowment from Dean Russell ... the General Education Board granted to Teachers College $500,000 in 1926, $500,000 in 1927, and $2,000,000 in 1928.
Wundtian psychology and Rockefeller money were now combined in an institution whose goal was the construction of new curricula and the development of new methods." Next, textbooks were created. Standard teaching practices were revised, and a course of study organized on the principles developed at Teachers College by Thorndike and Dewey. Here was the full-fledged prototype.
More than a thousand educators visited the Lincoln School in the school year 1923-1924. John D. Rockefeller, Jr., sent four of his five sons to study at the Lincoln School, with results that could, perhaps, have been predicted had he read the works of Thorndike and Dewey:
... Laurance [Rockefeller] gives startling confirmation as to 'Why Johnnie [sic] Can't Read.' He says that the Lincoln School did not teach him to read and write as be wishes he now could. Nelson, today, admits that reading for him is a 'slow and tortuous process' that he does not enjoy doing but compells himself to do. This is significant evidence in the debate that has raged about modern educational techniques.As an experiment in education, the Lincoln School proved a disappointment, and it did poorly financially despite continued Rockefeller support to the tune of $5 million. Finally closed down by Teachers College in 1946, it was replaced by the Institute of School Experimentation, which carried on the task of remodeling American education.
The judgment of the Trustees and administration in 1946 that the Institute of School Experimentation would prove to be a most effective instrument for experimenting in the public schools has been amply justified by the Institute's record. Closing the School and using the endowment's funds for the Institute has had the effect of increasing the number of the College's educational laboratories. Where once Teachers College had laboratory schools only on Morningside Heights, it now had them all over the nation, and they are public schools with typical public school populations.(end of chapter 9)
Get The Book!The Leipzig Connection by Paolo Lionni - the complete book with more details & facts about the scam known as modern education and psychology.
Suggested Reading List - the Demise of the Educational System - OBE (Outcome-Based Education), NEA (National Education Association), educational psychology, German psychology & influences, demise of public education, educational sabotage, Wundt, Pavlov, Dewey, Skinner, Watson.
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